Lionel Messi fails to inspire as dull PSG are held in Brugge
Thursday, September 16th, 2021 08:14 | < 1 min read
Lionel Messi failed to spark Paris Saint-Germain on his first start as the Ligue 1 side were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw at Club Brugge in their Champions League opener.
Messi hit the woodwork but was otherwise far from his brilliant best alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, despite the feverish anticipation of 'MNM' taking to the pitch together for the first time.
Ander Herrera put PSG ahead in the first half, but Mauricio Pochettino's side lacked quality and defensive focus against a Brugge team who levelled before the break through Hans Vanaken and had the better chances in the game.
PSG made a confident start, with Mbappé's cross met by Herrera in the 15th minute.
Messi set up Mbappé, who went close in the 23rd minute with an angled shot that was deflected by Simon Mignolet, but PSG were lulled into a false sense of security.
On a sharp attack, the visitors' defence was overwhelmed on the right side and after a late run into the box, Vanaken connected with Eduard Sobol's cutback to beat Keylor Navas.
Messi hit the woodwork with a fine curling shot from the edge of the box, before Brugge threatened again as Vanaken forced Navas into a diving save with a low free-kick.
Danilo replaced Leandro Paredes as PSG's holding midfielder, while Julian Draxler took over from Georginio Wijnaldum in a roving role after the break.
PSG suffered a blow six minutes into the second half when Mbappé limped off the pitch after taking a knock on his ankle and was replaced by Mauro Icardi.
Messi had PSG's first chance of the second half 20 minutes from time with an angled shot before picking up a yellow card, but Brugge did more than enough to claim a point